Expositional commentary on Scripture using an inductive exegetical methodology intent upon confronting the lives of Christians with the dogmatic Truths of God's inspired Words opposing Calvinism and Arminianism, Biblical commentary, doctrine of grace enablement, understanding holiness and wisdom and selfishness, in-depth Bible studies, adult Bible Study books and Sunday School materials Dr. Lance T. Ketchum Line Upon Line: I. The Church and Biblical Zionism

Monday, February 26, 2018

I. The Church and Biblical Zionism

Chapter Seven
I. The Church and Biblical Zionism

What is God’s purpose in giving us prophetic utterances about the future?  God’s purpose in giving prophetic utterances about the future is to inform faithful believers and encourage them by reminding them He is going to do what He says He will do.  Secondly, God’s purpose in giving prophetic utterances about the future is to warn the unfaithful believers and call them to repentance.  If knowing prophetic truth does not get you serious about what is coming, and if it does not change the way you live because of that knowledge, you are merely seeing prophecy as fiction or fantasy.  The Bible word for living unchanged in the light of God’s revealed knowledge about the future is simply – UNBELIEF!

Zechariah 2:8 says, “for he that toucheth you {the nation of Israel} toucheth the apple of his {God’s} eye.”  The intent here seems to mean that any person that sets out to injure or harm the nation of Israel must see himself as trying to harm God Himself.  A person succeeding in touching Israel to harm her will ultimate be held accountable by God Himself in that such ill determinations are viewed by God as attempting to thwart God’s plans for Israel. 

Some commentaries say that the pronoun “his” in the phrase “toucheth the apple of his eye” is referring to someone that touches Israel to harm her is actually harming himself.  However, the phrase must be understood from the context of a previous statement from Deuteronomy 32:9-10 where the pronoun is clearly God.  Scripture interprets Scripture!

9 For the LORD’S portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance. 10 He {God} found him {Jacob or Israel} in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness; he {God} led him {Jacob or Israel} about, he {God} instructed him {Jacob or Israel}, he {God} kept him {Jacob or Israel} as the apple of his {God’s} eye” (Deuteronomy 32:9-10).

Zechariah chapter two is encouraging words to a disparaged and captive people.  The last four verses of Zechariah chapter two confirm that encouragement of the faithful is God’s intent.  In the last four verses of Zechariah chapter two, we see the promise of people of “many nations” “joined to the LORD” in the Kingdom Age.  These are saved Gentiles from many ethnicities and nations of the world.

The “times of the Gentiles began in B.C. 606 with Nebuchadnezzar’s capture of the city of Jerusalem.  Throughout the “times of the Gentiles,” Jerusalem “shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled” (Luke 21:24).  The words “trodden down” literally means under foot.  The intent is that they will not regain their sovereignty as a nation completely independent of Gentile authority/occupation until the second coming of Jesus.  Thousands of years have passed since the beginning of the “times of the Gentiles,” but God tells the faithful, believing remnant of Jews that He “will dwell in the midst of thee” (Zechariah 2:10). 

Biblical Zionism in modern theological terminology is most often just known as MillennialismAlthough Biblical Zionism is predominantly Jewish in nature, it does involve the Church at the second coming of the Lord Jesus.  Although the Church is never national Israel, the Church will be grafted into national Israel as a new Melchisedecan Priesthood and the “bride of Christ” under her High Priest Christ Jesus at the beginning of the Kingdom Age. 

The Church Age accounts for most of the time of the gap between the sixty-ninth and seventieth weeks of Daniel 9:24. These “seventy weeks” are the “times of the Gentiles” and God’s judgment on the nation of Israel for their breach of their promise to keep the Mosaic Covenant. 

Zechariah 2:10-13 is the consummate statement regarding the one-thousand-year reign of Jesus Christ and Biblical Zionism.  Zechariah 2:10-13 also confirms God’s promise to Abraham; “17 And the LORD said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do; 18 Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation {Israel}, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him (because through Abraham’s  generations, ‘thy Seed, which is Christ’ will come; Gal. 3:16}” (Genesis 18:17-18)?  It is through faith in the promised Seed that “all the nations of the earth shall be blessed.”  Zechariah 2:10-13 also confirms a literal Hermeneutic as the only acceptable interpretation, thereby excluding all other theories regarding the Millennial Kingdom on Earth. 

10 Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion: for, lo, I come, and I will dwell in the midst of thee, saith the LORD. 11 And many nations shall be joined to the LORD in that day, and shall be my people: and I will dwell in the midst of thee, and thou shalt know that the LORD of hosts hath sent me unto thee. 12 And the LORD shall inherit Judah his portion in the holy land, and shall choose Jerusalem again. 13 Be silent, O all flesh, before the LORD: for he is raised up out of his holy habitation” (Zechariah 2:10-13).

          Since God has said this same thing in so many other portions of Scripture, why does He feel the need to say it again to the faithful remnant of Israel?  God repeats these promises to reaffirm them and reassure the faithful.  These things can be said a thousand times to the unbelieving and they will mean nothing.  However, the believers are encouraged to continue in their faithfulness.  Through the repetition of God’s promises, believers are confirmed in their resolve to persevere to the end.  The “lo, I come” statement of the preincarnate LORD in Zechariah 2:10 is the same confirmation given by Peter to Church Age believers in II Peter 3:10.  It is also clear from II Peter 3:9 that Christ’s delay in His second coming is due to His passion for lost souls to come to repentance and faith. 

9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. 11 Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, 12 Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? 13 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. 14 Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless” (II Peter 3:9-14).

          In 2016, Israel and the United States accounted for 83% of the Jewish population of the world.  The total number of Jews in the world in 2016 was 14.4 million.  About 1.5 million of those Jews profess to be Christians of some sort or another.  Only a small percentage of the Jews professing Christianity would be truly “born again” Christians.  Yet, by the end of the Tribulation, God will have a nation of saved Jews that will trust in Jesus and confess Him as LORD.  Only saved Jews and saved people from Gentile nations, surviving the Tribulation judgments and the persecutions of Antichristism, will enter the Kingdom Age in physical bodies.  All other occupants of the Kingdom Age at its beginning will be in glorified bodies.  These glorified believers will return to Earth with Jesus at the battle of Armageddon. 

25 As he saith also in Osee, I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved. 26 And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people; there shall they be called the children of the living God. 27 Esaias also crieth concerning Israel {Isaiah 10:22}, Though the number of the children of Israel {all Jews from all times} be as the sand of the sea, a remnant {very few; faithful believers} shall be saved: 28 For he will finish the work, and cut it short in righteousness: because a short work will the Lord make upon the earth {the seven-year Tribulation}. 29 And as Esaias said before {Isaiah 1:9}, Except the Lord of Sabaoth {a Hebrew military term for the hosts of war; armies; Zechariah 2:8} had left us a seed {believing remnant}, we had been as Sodoma, and been made like unto Gomorrha. 30 What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith. 31 But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness. 32 Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone; 33 As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed” (Romans 9:25-33).

Romans chapters nine, ten, and eleven critically explain what Zechariah chapter two means regarding Zionism.  When it comes to understanding the future of Israel and the role that the Church will have in Zionism, our understanding would be greatly hindered without the explanations of these three chapters of Scripture.  It would be irresponsible to look at the future of Israel without carefully evaluating what God says to Christian Jews and all Gentile believers in these three chapters of Scripture.  Romans chapter nine explains God’s election/choosing of the nation of Israel through which Messiah would be born.  Chapter nine also explains which Jews part of true Israel are.  Chapter ten explains to Jews how to become part of true Israel. 

6 Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: 7 Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called. 8 That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise {faith in the Promised Propitiator of the Abrahamic Covenant} are counted for the seed” (Romans 9:6-8).

Five categories of people that will inhabit the earth during the Millennial Kingdom

1. The Bride of Christ, His Church, who will return with Jesus in their glorified state at His second advent to rule with Him on the earth for one thousand years.  These people will occupy the Kingdom in glorified bodies and rule with Christ.  
2. All the saved of all Ages resurrected from the dead and given glorified bodies (most likely resurrected at the time of the Church Age saints). 
3. All those who were martyred for Christ during the Tribulation time (Revelation 2:26-27 and 20:4-6). These people will occupy the Kingdom in glorified bodies.  
4. All those who have put their faith in Christ for salvation from all the nations of the world during the Tribulation and who have not been killed by Antichrist, or who have not died during the Tribulation (Revelation 7:9-17).  These people will occupy the Kingdom in physical bodies.
5. The 144,000 Jews, 12,000 from each tribe, sealed in heaven in their foreheads with the Name of God, will constitute the protected remnant of Israel; and all the people who will be won to Christ by the two witnesses and this remnant (Revelation 7:2-8, compare Revelation 9:4).  The first group of 144,000 sealed Jews will occupy the Kingdom in glorified bodies, while those Jews won to faith in Christ by them and survive the Tribulation will enter the Kingdom in physical bodies. 

          Romans chapter eleven tells us God will graft a wild branch (Gentile believers of the Church Age) into the Root of the Olive Tree Israel.  The Root of course is Jesus Christ, the Rod out of the stem of JesseThis is the Abrahamic Covenant.  Most professing Christians do not possess even the most basic understanding of the connection between the Abrahamic Covenant and the Mosaic Covenant. 

The Abrahamic Covenant is PRIMARY.  The Mosaic Covenant is secondary.  The Abrahamic Covenant defines salvation by grace through faith.  The Mosaic Covenant defines sanctification for a redeemed nation by God’s enabling grace through works. 

Romans 9:25-33 must be the most ignored verses of Scripture in the Word of God.  Why do I say that?  I say that because these verses seem to be ignored by Covenant Theologians, Reformed Theologians, and even some Dispensational Theologians.  These verses correct the false notions of a Universal Church Theonomically replacing the nation of Israel.  These verses correct the false notion that all national Israel is lost and cast away to reprobation by God.  These verses correct the false notion that Church Age believers are not a partial fulfillment of the New Covenant within the Abrahamic Covenant.  Paul quotes from seven Old Testament texts to show that Church Age saints, made up of “born again” Jews and Gentiles, partially fulfill the prophecy of seven texts and that this new elect group (chronologically) joins with the Faith Seed of Abraham (“born again” believers within national Israel; i.e., the genetic Seed of Abraham) promised within the Abrahamic Covenant.  These seven texts are:

1. Hosea 2:1-23 (Romans 9:25)
2. Hosea 1:9-10 (Romans 9:26)
3. Isaiah 10:20-23 (Romans 9:27-28)
4. Isaiah 1:2-9 (Romans 9:29)
5. Psalm 118:19-29 (Romans 9:33)
6. Isaiah 8:9-15 (Romans 9:33)
7. Isaiah 28:14-22 (Romans 9:33)

Hosea 2:1-23 gives us an expanded context of Paul’s previous statement in Romans 9:14-15 regarding what God said to Moses at Mt. Sinai; “14 What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid. 15 For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.”  We must bring the context of the prophecy of Hosea chapter two, from which Paul quotes, into the context of what Paul is saying in Romans chapter nine regarding national Israel (the natural or genetic seed of Abraham) and spiritual Israel (the Faith Seed of Abraham, which is the remnant Seed of Israel). 

(Continued next Week)

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Numerous studies and series are available free of charge for local churches at: http://www.disciplemakerministries.org/ 
Dr. Lance Ketchum serves the Lord as a Church Planter, Evangelist/Revivalist. 
He has served the Lord for over 40 years.

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